The 2003 movie's star-studded cast included Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Martin Freeman, Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Chiwetel Ejiofor and more, but it soon became a "nightmare scenario" due to its tight editing timeframe.
"There were twelve stories so [finding the right order] was like three-dimensional chess," Curtis told the Cheltenham Literature Festival. "It was enormously difficult to finish or get right."
Curtis also seemed to suggest that he was not keen on the final project as he wanted longer to get things to his liking. "You could have played with it for all time but it had to be out by Christmas," he said.
Ten best Christmas films
Ten best Christmas films
1/10 It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
The enduring appeal of Frank Capra’s yuletide movie lies in its toughness. Yes, the film lets us know that 'no man is a failure who has friends' and features an angel called Clarence, but it also touches on bankruptcy, suicide, frustrated ambition and the dark underbelly of small town American life.
It's A Wonderful Life
2/10 Die Hard (1988)
This is an action movie, not a Christmas film as such...but it is set over the Christmas period. Bruce Willis in a vest pitted against Alan Rickman’s sneering villain is an antidote to the typical yuletide fare.
3/10 Fanny and Alexander (1982)
Ingmar Bergman’s sprawling drama has a quite magical sequence of a family Christmas with all the trimmings - gluttony, lechery, presents, dancing and even a relative who can fart at will.
Fanny and Alexander promotional poster
4/10 The Family Man (2000)
Yes, it’s schmaltzy and highly derivative of 'A Christmas Carol', but Brett Ratner’s Christmas film features such a heartfelt, Eeyore-like performance from Nicolas Cage that you buy into it anyway. Cage is the man whose life can go in two directions - either he can be a Master of the Universe on Wall Street or a small time family man...
5/10 Joyeux Noel (2005)
Christmas in the First World War trenches and there is an impromptu ceasefire between the Germans and British and the French. Instead of killing each other, they play football and sing songs. Directed by Christian Carion and with a cast of French, British and German actors, this is a crowdpleasing Christmas Euro-pudding of a movie.
6/10 A Christmas Carol (1951)
Scrooge has been portrayed on screen many times. Alastair Sim certainly isn’t the meanest incarnation of Charles Dickens’ skinflint but he is the most appealing.
7/10 The Polar Express (2004)
Robert Zemeckis is a visionary who is rarely given his due. Visually, this motion capture computer animated film is an absolute tour de force, although some critics complained about its mawkishness and the fact that Tom Hanks seemed to play almost all the roles.
8/10 Decalogue III (1988)
The third episode on Krzysztof Kieslowski’s 10 part Decalogue is set on Christmas Eve and is an embroiled and fraught drama about a woman desperate to coax her ex-lover away from his family and spend the night with him.
9/10 Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence (1983)
This was the first sight that western audiences had of the great Japanese comedian Takeshi Kitano, now a very respected filmmaker in his own right. Kitano plays the brutal, hard-drinking Japanese Sergeant who utters the lines that give Nagisa Oshima’s film its title, discovering his own humanity in the process.
10/10 Home Alone (1990)
It is a measure of how cleverly written and directed John Hughes’ movies were that they’re still being watched today. Macaulay Culkin became the biggest child star of the 1990s on the back of his performance here as the enterprising kid, left home alone at Christmas and defending himself from a pair of nincompoop burglars (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern).
It wasn't only Love Actually that gave Curtis a headache. He also admitted that he had taken issue with Hugh Grant being cast in the lead for Four Weddings and a Funeral.
"The absolutely key thing for that film when I was writing it was that the person who was playing the lead would not be good looking," he said.
"So when finally we'd auditioned every single young person in the country and we were voting, Mike [Newall, director] and Duncan [Kenworthy, producer], two people voted for Hugh – that was them – and I voted for someone else."
Grant spoke about being "very much unwanted" on The Graham Norton Show last Friday.
"Richard Curtis did everything in his power to stop me getting the part after the audition," he said. "I remember it was a very traumatic audition.
"I think they wanted someone rather more middle of the road and thought I was too hoity-toity posh. But I got the part in the end because I don’t think they could find anyone else!"
Curtis has said that his latest film, 2013's About Time, will most likely be his final movie as a director.Reuse content